My Step 03 – Last days

October 21, 2006

Step 3 (LDS ARP Manual)

Decide to turn your will and your life over to the care of God the Eternal Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.

I don’t know about you, but I have always had a problem with last days.  I will act out in addiction and assure myself guiltily that it was the last time would do that.  Then later (often not much later) I would do it again, because I had already done it that day or because I still felt guilty so once more wouldn’t make a difference.  If I was going to feel the shame and guilt, why not feel it over something worth feeling it for, right?

I have spent much of my life living last days.  I have quit my addiction thousands of times and then come back to quit it again.  Often I would find myself acting out almost unconsciously and then, after I had done it, rationalizing that a few more times over the next several hours would mean that I could do it and not have to change my story to the bishop when I saw him.

Oftentimes, I planned my last days.  I said, “This is the last time I am going to do this.  I am going to go all out so as to get it out of my system.  Then I won’t have to worry about it anymore; I will have gone as low as I can go, I’ll know what that’s like, I’ll repent and move on.”  Of course, there are several self-deceptions in that.  Doing it only creates a greater need for it in your system; You can always go lower; you can’t repent if you don’t really want to stop.

I didn’t (and sometimes don’t) really want to stop.  That’s the reality of my addiction.  I was happy to have last days because it meant I got to act out at least one more time.  Another last day, another opportunity to act out.

Coupled with this was the thought that I was repenting, because I was enduring punishment.  Though I lied to everyone else, I never lied to the bishop.  When he asked me to not partake of the sacrament I (usually) didn’t partake (and confessed woefully when I did).  When he asked me to not use the priesthood, I would avoid family gatherings where it would be necessary.  When he asked me to not go to the temple, I would not (I was very proud of the fact that I had never gone when I felt unworthy).  Then, having done my time, I would have my blessings restored, declare myself forgiven, and go out and sin some more.

Last days.  I have had too many of them.  All they have done is convince that I really am an addict and that I really do need to rely on God and that I really do need to turn my life and my will over to God.  So that’s good, I guess.  I just wish I hadn’t gone the “last days” route to figure it out.

What I want are first days.  On a first day, I say today I will turn my will and my life over to God.  On a first day, I say that today I will keep the commandments (all of them that I can).  On a first day, I can look back over the day I’ve had, consider what went well and what didn’t, and pray to have a better first day tomorrow.

Many “Anonymous” organizations keep track of sobriety, by noting how many days since you last acted out.  There is something good in that, but it isn’t everything.  Most of those groups also have a saying, “If you have twenty-four hours of sobriety, you are tied for first place with the rest of us.”  You’ve just had your first day; Have another one tomorrow.


8 Responses to “My Step 03 – Last days”

  1. I’ve been thinking about your posts, just haven’t had enough conclusions to post or comment on them, but I’ve read and appreciated them.

  2. I’m looking forward to your next post. Hope all is well.

  3. Just dropping by and hoping all is well with you.

  4. jsmith Says:

    If someone was saying all this to me this way when I started the AA program I would have not stayed. Lucky we are a spiritual program and keep it that way. This is like going to church. I’d rather go to AA. Good luck, but people that dont hear you might hear us.

  5. sandra Says:

    When I was in re-hab alot of addicts would say. “I know I have another relapse in me…but I don’t know if I have another recovery.” I can’t afford to take this attitude because I’ve had a number of last days. Too many.
    These are other things that I’ve heard that I pay more attention to:

    -It’s NOT ok to relapse. But if you relapse it’s ok.
    (Romans 6:14-15 comes to mind)

    -Relapse is a part of recovery.

    However many last days I have, I need to believe that I’ll always find my way back. Otherwise I’ll just give up completely. The scriptures say, “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:37) So all things are possible.
    Would it be possible for me to not have any more ‘last days’? Because right I don’t have enough confidence to say that I wont. Sometimes I feel doomed.

    Thanks for your story John. I appreciate it.
    I’m off to have another stupid smoke…..

  6. I have to say that some people who can’t hear AA can hear what John says — which is why the program he is in exists.

    I’m hoping he posts again.

  7. Phil Says:

    Thanks for posting. I’m starting the journey. Not yet comfortable going to ARP meetings. This is a good introduction for me.

  8. I think it is good to see movie screenings it lets you know bout the movie before you spend your money on it! Click

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